Starting School on the Right Foot

Generous supporters provide supply-filled backpacks that make all the difference.

The Child Center is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help our children succeed in school. That’s why we’ve invested in efforts like in-school counseling and mentorship to ensure kids are socially and emotionally ready to learn.

We also make sure to address the practical things — like school supplies.

On average, back-to-school items like pencils and binders end up costing families $85 per child, which is far above what most of our families can afford. It’s hard to expect a child to do his or her best in school without the required tools.

Over the last three years, The Child Center has partnered with High Water Women to purchase book bags filled with school supplies. To date, High Water Women and other partners have provided nearly 5,000 backpacks and school supplies to our neediest children and families. These backpacks and school supply donations are essential for our clients to start their school year off on the right foot.

Employees of KPMG who participated in the backpack drive

Chief Development Officer Jaime Angarita with KPMG volunteers

Our 2018 drive kicked off last month and is in full swing. We’ve already raised funds to purchase nearly 1,000 backpacks. We send our deepest thanks to High Water Women and KPMG, whose employees went above and beyond for the drive, donating 450 backpacks filled not only with basic supplies, but also an age-appropriate book to encourage a love of reading and a heartfelt, handwritten note to show recipients that their larger community cares about them.

We also owe a huge debt of thanks to US Pacific Transport, Inc., for the donation of the delivery trucks, as well as the drivers who graciously donated their time. They coordinated the pick-up and delivery of the backpacks, donating all of their services for the benefit of the kids. And we thank our dedicated board member Kris Amato for connecting us to USPTI and ensuring the drive’s success, as well as the individual donors from all walks of life who are supporting this campaign through CrowdRise and other avenues.

Organizing the backpacks to distribute“The backpack drive exemplifies the spirit of collaboration and community that are at the heart of what we do here at The Child Center,” remarked our Chief Development Officer Jaime Angarita. “We are humbled by the generosity of our supporters and hope they know that their impact on these children will last long after the first day of school.”

Because of the enormous need in the communities we serve, we still are about 900 backpacks short of our goal. Please consider making a financial contribution to close this gap for the next school year. Every gift, big and small, counts. Just a $20 donation will provide a fully stocked backpack for one child. Your donation is 100% tax deductible and will go exclusively toward purchasing backpacks for elementary school-age clients in various programs, including Prevention and Family Support, Behavioral Health, Health Homes, Home Visiting, and Cornerstone Community Centers.

Please check back for updates, including photos of kids receiving the treasure-filled backpacks!

Update, August 31, 2018: Backpacks have been delivered to most sites, including our Preventive Program at Elmhurst Family Center. Here is Matthew, peeking into his backpack filled with school supplies and then modeling the backpack for his mom and social worker, Stephanie De Los Santos. 

Update, August 28, 2018: We are thrilled to announce that our Backpack Drive has achieved its goal of providing 1,700 backpacks! We’d like to thank several companies and individuals who helped get us to the finish line: Shoshana Werber and her family supplied 180 backpacks to our Head Start/EarlyLearn program in Corona; Board Member Maalika Rastogi donated $1,000 and raised more than $13,000; the men and women of Greenberg Traurig donated $1,289; and Board President Dick Jay donated the final $6,000 that got us to our goal. Thank you to all the supporters who contributed to this campaign. Each person who donated $20 is directly responsible for getting a supply-filled backpack into the hands of a child who didn’t have what he or she needed for school. Your generosity will be felt throughout the school year!

Our Preventive Program at the Trude Weishaupt Center held a Back to School event to distribute backpacks and offer families workshops on back-to-school topics, such as the importance of routines, study times, reading to children, and nutrition. Staff presenters spoke in Mandarin, Spanish, English, and Hindi. Medical residents were on hand to present on stress and bullying. All Trude Weishaupt staff participated, with Case Planner Yesenia Flores, LMSW, serving as lead organizer. The room was filled with books donated by supporters so that parents and children could take home a book that appealed to them. Among the happy recipients were 12-year-old Leslie, going into 7th grade, and 2-year-old Michelle, in child care. 

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